The European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today, which sets out common objectives and areas of cooperation in the field of Earth observation and the environment over the coming years. Satellite data, such as that provided by the ESA, is a key component of environmental knowledge, improving environmental monitoring, leading to more evidence based policy and better environmental management.
The Memorandum of Understanding sets objectives for the exchange of scientific expertise and technical information between the agencies, providing the basis for mutual access to data and the promotion of joint activities. One new activity concerns the use of Sentinel-2A satellite data for the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service, which provides information on land cover and land change use as well as on variables related to vegetation and the water cycle.
Sentinel-2A, which was launched on 23 June 2015, is the main provider of satellite data for the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service, which is coordinated by the EEA. Sentinel-2A’s spatial resolution and geographical coverage are designed such that the data it collects is optimal input for the envisaged regular Land Monitoring Service.
The EEA will benefit from this data for its regular state of the environment reporting, and for applications that monitor Europe’s changing urban environment, the pressures and impacts on a wide range of habitats, the increasing fragmentation of the European landscape and climate change impacts.